Near-infrared imaging observations of the N159/N160 complex in the large magellanic cloud: Large clusters of Herbig Ae/Be stars and sequential cluster formation

Yasushi Nakajima, Daisuke Kato, Tetsuya Nagata, Motohide Tamura, Shuji Sato, Koji Sugitani, Chie Nagashima, Takahiro Nagayama, Ikuru Iwata, Yoshifusa Ita, Toshihiko Tanabe, Mlkio Kurita, Hldehiko Nakaya, Daisuke Baba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have carried out deep near-infrared imaging observations of the N159/N160 star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. We observed an area of ∼380 arcmin 2 (∼80,000 pc 2 at the distance of the LMC) in the J, H, and K s bands. The observations are deep enough to detect Herbig Ae/Be stars down to ∼3 M in the LMC. We discovered a total of 338 and 464 candidate Herbig Ae/Be and OB stars, respectively, based on the near-infrared colors and magnitudes. The Herbig Ae/Be candidates comprise 10 clusters, the OB star candidates 13. We discovered an embedded Herbig Ae/Be cluster in the N159 East giant molecular cloud (GMC) and a Herbig Ae/Be cluster at the northeast tip of the N159 South GMC. Together with two neighboring H II regions, the Herbig Ae/Be cluster at the tip of the N159S GMC provides a hint of the beginning of sequential cluster formation in N159S. The spatial distributions of the Herbig Ae/Be and OB clusters, in conjunction with previously known optical clusters and embedded massive stars, indicate (1) sequential cluster formation within each of the N159 and N160 star-forming regions and (2) large-scale sequential cluster formation over the entire observed region from N160 to N159S. Possible triggers for the large-scale cluster formation are the supergiant shell SGS 19 and an expanding superbubble. Some of the Herbig Ae/Be clusters in the N159/N160 complex are significantly larger in spatial extent than pre-main-sequence clusters of similar age in the Milky Way. Highly turbulent gas motion in the LMC is probably responsible for forming the large young clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-789
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume129
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Galaxies: star clusters
  • Infrared: stars
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: pre-main-sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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  • Cite this

    Nakajima, Y., Kato, D., Nagata, T., Tamura, M., Sato, S., Sugitani, K., Nagashima, C., Nagayama, T., Iwata, I., Ita, Y., Tanabe, T., Kurita, M., Nakaya, H., & Baba, D. (2005). Near-infrared imaging observations of the N159/N160 complex in the large magellanic cloud: Large clusters of Herbig Ae/Be stars and sequential cluster formation. Astronomical Journal, 129(2), 776-789. https://doi.org/10.1086/426917